Over at my site (The NetworksUnited), I went through every roster and tried to slot starters, rotations, and bench roles. It’s an exercise I’ve done for a few years now; here’s what I had to say for the Los Angeles Clippers, as of mid-August:
Key: Each team will be separated by their nominal starting five (PG = point guard, SG = shooting guard, SF = small forward, PF = power forward, C = center), with most important players followed by the more replaceable parts (i.e, franchise player of the Big 3, followed by the other two starters). Also included are the rotation (6th man through 8th man), followed by the rest of the bench (up to the 13th man). New additions and re-signings are marked by an asterisk*, rookies by a (1). Players who are uncertain to be ready for the season opener are kept out of the starting lineup and rotation and marked with a (+).
Los Angeles Clippers (2014-2015: 56-26, 2nd in Pacific, 3rd in Western, Semifinals Loss to Houston)
Starters: PF Blake Griffin, PG Chris Paul, C DeAndre Jordan, SG J.J. Redick, SF Paul Pierce*
Rotation: SG Jamal Crawford, PF Josh Smith*, SF Lance Stephenson*
Bench: C Cole Aldrich*, PG Austin Rivers, PF Branden Dawson (1), SF Wesley Johnson*, PG Pablo Prigioni*
Head Coach: Doc Rivers
General Manager: Dave Wohl
You couldn’t escape the condescending “Doc the GM” mentions last season, and most of it was directed toward the paper thin bench from last season. We’ll get to that, but the starting lineup was toast for about a week. Jordan’s indecision nearly torpedoed L.A.’s offseason, but fortunately for everyone involved here, he’s back. Without Jordan, the other moves either don’t matter or don’t get made. The first domino to fall for the Clippers was the trade of Matt Barnes and 2014 free agent bust Spencer Hawes for Stephenson, who was immediately not promised a starting job. Pierce comes home to replace Barnes and ride off into the sunset. Pierce is older than Barnes, and he has been better as a small ball PF since leaving Boston two teams ago. But Pierce, reunited with Rivers, is a clear offensive upgrade on Barnes. Smith replaces Hawes, a major coup for the Clippers. Smith’s shooting is notoriously questionable, but he produces across the board; Hawes shot 39% from the field and was basically unplayable once Griffin returned from elbow surgery in the spring. Stephenson takes Hedo Turkoglu’s roster spot. Aldrich replaces Glen Davis, which should be less entertaining but more effective. Dawson, a second-round pick, replaces Ekpe Udoh. Johnson, a starter across the hall last year, replaces Dahntay Jones. Prigioni replaces Lester Hudson; Prigioni would arguably be a better option than Rivers as the backup PG. There is some boom-or-bust here for the Clippers, but there is certainly more to play with on this roster than the one that choked in Houston.
I intend to update this periodically between now and October 27. For the rest of the league and to follow this post:
— Law Murray (@LawMurrayTheNU) August 15, 2015